Garden and wildlife days

Barrington Court garden catnip path

With new vibrant green leaf growth and delicate blooms and cool colours of the flowering plants all around, there’s something to look at and admire with every step. The gentle scent of lavender is carried on the air, and the bees are busy gathering pollen, the irises look stately and impressive, and the apple trees are bursting with blossom, the garden is beginning to look full and frothy.

Wildlife in the summer garden

There will be wildlife crafts and a variety of hands-on activities with the Somerset Wildlife Trust, Wildlfowl & Wetlands Trust, Somerset Moth Group, Bumblebee Conservation Trust and others. 29 May - 1 June, 10.30am - 3.30pm.

Each section of the garden has its own identity and style with fabulous seasonal planting, but some plants take a starring role at certain times, and for a few weeks in May and June, the  blooms and racemes of the unusual white wisteria look like a waterfall of flowers, cascading down the walls of the white garden. The peonies are at their best this time of the year too, deep crimson, scented and romantically blousy, complemented by roses growing up and over the walls of the garden buildings and in the borders.

Bird song and calls fill the air, as this year’s fledglings find their voice, and a variety of butterflies can often be spotted warming their wings in a patch of sunshine or drawing nectar from flowering plants.

Our woodland, garden and meadow are teaming with butterflies in summer
Colourfly butterflies can be spotted all over Sheffield Park in summer
Our woodland, garden and meadow are teaming with butterflies in summer

Our densely planted flower rich garden, attracts a whole host of diverse and beneficial insects, including different types of bees. You can’t miss the foraging bumble bee, and you’ll also be likely to see masonry bees near the south wall of the lily garden too, even the scarce nomad bee has been recorded here in recent years.

A long history of low intensity cropping has preserved the character of the apple trees and beauty of the orchards here, and together with the old and veteran trees in the arboretum and parkland this provides a habitat for many notable insects and invertebrates, such as the nationally scarce fruit tree bark beetle. One of the things you’ll notice as you walk through the gardens and orchards is the abundance of mistletoe, which supports the rare mistletoe bug (hypseloecus visci), which in turn feed the pretty spotted mistletoe thrush.

The environment of the garden, parkland and orchards also create a valuable bat feeding habitat. Thanks to recent surveys carried out by wildlife volunteers, we know that there are four legally protected species of bats that roost here, they are: Natterer’s, Pipistrelle, Brown long eared and Leisler’s bats. You probably won’t see them during your visit as they become active when dusk falls and we’ve all gone home.